…East-West road will be ready for inauguration in 2022
International oil companies (IOCs) will be made to pay back the $4 billion owed the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Niger Delta Affairs Minister, Sen. Godswill Akpabio has promised.
Already, the Federal Government has commenced the process of recovering the debt.
Featuring at the weekly briefing organized by the Presidential Media Team on Thursday in Abuja, Akpabio said: “All the international oil companies are owing and efforts are ongoing to recoup the money.”
He, however, did not provide details of the debts before the submission of the forensic report on NDDC to President Muhammadu Buhari.
Persecondnews recalls that the NDDC was established in 2000 by the Ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo administration to develop the oil-rich Niger Delta.
“The Forensic audit report of the NDDC has been completed and will be submitted to President Buhari at his convenience,” Persecondnews quotes the minister as saying.
He said government would use the forensic audit report to correct all the ills of the past in the region.
Akpabio believed that the Amnesty programme should end to enable the people of the region to get better deal instead of the peanuts ex-agitators are being paid.
“I haven’t seen any major thing that has touched the lives of the people in the region done by the NDDC. We are still searching for the project they have done. The money given to the NDDC has not been utilised well.
“The major agent of intervention, the NDDC failed, that has been the problem.
“We (NDDC) have a commitment in the excess of N3 trillion. The forensic audit will clarify these things. NDDC is still being owed over $4 billion by all the International oil companies (IOCs) as part of their 3% contribution to NDDC and the Federal Government is also owing the NDDC but there are plans to work out plans to recover these monies,” he said.
According to Akpabio, the commission’s debts profile to contractors stands at about N3 trillion.
“However, not all contracts awarded with costs can be regarded as debt.
“The over N600 billion of emergency contracts that had been awarded had not been implemented and cannot therefore be regarded as NDDC debt.”
On the East-West Road, Akpabio said 2022 has been set as the completion date for the project.
He said towards the completion of the East West Road which started 16 years ago, he said the NDDC diverted N10 billion from other projects for the road in view of its critical importance to the people of the region.
He said N7 billion has so far been released out of the N10 billion, adding that about N75 billion would be required to complete lots 1-4 of the road.
Akpabio disclosed that he had written to President Muhammadu Buhari, urging him to include the project in Sukuk Fund to ensure that it is ready for inauguration in 2022.
“About N45 billion is needed to complete the road,” he said, adding that in n019 and 2020 N11 billion and N4 billion were released for the project.
Other projects executed by the ministry include 18 inter-state roads, 109 intra-cities roads and about 500,000 housing units.
On the debt profile of NDDC, Akpabio announced that it is currently owing about N3 trillion, pointing out that no concrete project was executed by the commission to justify the huge debt.
On the recently signed Petroleum Industry Bill (2021) and the controversial 3% to oil producing communities, Akpabio
said: “I thank Mr President for the Petroleum Industry Act (2021). It is a major step in the right direction.
This is a leap forward and we must thank Mr President for this. This is the first time that the host community is having a percentage. Now the government is looking at the host community directly.”